Near East Foundation (NEF)

Founded in 1915, the Near East Foundation's mission is to help build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities in the Middle East and Africa through education, governance, and economic development initiatives. NEF is an operational NGO with projects in seven countries-Armenia, Sudan, Senegal, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Palestinian Territories and Egypt-where we work to directly improve the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable people through programs in peacebuilding, civic engagement, education, sustainable agriculture, and business development. In the field, approximately 50 NEF staff members-all of them from the countries in which they work-partner with local o...
Jul 10, 2014

Armenian Survivor Takes the Cake with New Business

Mane
Mane's pakhlava and gata are sold in 4 stores

After nine years of abuse and harassment by her husband, Mane never imagined that she could find the power not only to stand-up for she and her kids but also to start her own business.  

But that’s exactly what happened after she went from a hospital to a women’s shelter where her life turned a corner. At the shelter, run by one of the Near East Foundation’s local partners, she learned about an initiative to help women survivors of domestic violence earn an income and become financially independent.

Mane shared her skills and love for baking with project leaders, who guided her in developing a business plan to produce cakes. Through business planning and management trainings, Mane acquired the skills she would need to be a successful entrepreneur. She also researched consumer demand in her area and learned that the products she hoped to offer were highly requested in the local market.

With start-up equipment and materials provided by NEF, Mane launched her business to great acclaim. She makes pakhlava and gata with a famous recipe from the Gavar Region for 4 different stores in Yerevan.

Mane beams when talking about her cakes and starting her own home-based business: ‘’The taste of my product is special; it is the best. This was my idea and the most important thing is that now I have business skills... Training helped me understand that I am able to work for myself and make an income for me and my children,’’ she said.

Because Mane’s cakes are so popular, more stores are requesting to sell them. Only a few weeks after launching her business, Mane is already planning to expand production volume to satisfy market demand.

This is exciting for Mane, who has used the $60 in income she earned so far to buy materials for production and still had some leftover to devote to her personal needs.

‘’Yes, now I am busy with my business and my favorite job. I like baking. This business helps me not only in getting financial sustainability and caring for my family, it also helps me forget the hard times I had to live through for so long.’’

Through her work with NEF’s entrepreneurship program, Mane is gradually recovering the energy, self-confidence, and motivation to work that she had lost during the difficult years in her abusive home. She continues to receive business mentoring from project leaders and is part of a social support network with other women survivors turned entrepreneurs.

Now she and her daughter live safely with her parents and, as her mom helps with the baking, Mane is beginning to take a leadership role in supporting her entire family.

THANK YOU for supporting this critical work to help women survivors of domestic violence in Armenia gain skills and earn an income so they can build a new life for their families!

Jul 10, 2014

Farmers Improve Livelihoods and Invest in Communit

The Acacia Senegal tree grows in Sudan’s North Kordofan State and produces a resin known as gum arabic--a major ingredient in paint, glue, cosmetics, and many other products used everyday all over the world. Sudan is one of the world’s biggest producers of gum arabic with 20% percent of Sudan’s population making their living from its cultivation.

With the generous support from donors like you, the Near East Foundation’s (NEF) project in Sudan’s North Kordofan State has had considerable impact on gum arabic production and has helped farmers better provide for their families and invest in their communities. 

NEF has helped gum arabic cultivators empower themselves by providing them with access to micro-credit, business training, Acacia seeds and seedlings, as well as training workshops on how to maximize gum yields while preserving local Acacia woodlands.

With the gum arabic farming communities on stronger footing, this month marks the end of our campaign on Global Giving.  Our work in Sudan and with gum arabic farmers continues – and we hope that you will continue to follow our activities and the impact of our projects through our websiteFacebook page, or Twitter feed

We thank you for your unstinting support for vulnerable farming families in Sudan’s North Kordofan State, and leave you with a few highlights of the impact of your donation. These are just a few of the many successes of the project:

  • Sudanese farmers who participated in trainings increased their average income from 200 SDG to 900 SDG per month – that is nearly $120 USD per month!
  • Farmers in Sudan received 5,000 Acacia Senegal tree seedlings from the Near East Foundation (NEF) with an aim to safeguard the future of an important source of income
  • NEF facilitated the distribution of seeds to 225 farmers in North Kordofan.  Each farmer received 1 pound of seeds—enough to cultivate 9 acres of land; NEF provided 150 tree seeds to each farmer in the project
  • NEF conducted training workshops for over 425 members of Gum Arabic Producer Associations in Sudan at which farmers gained knowledge and had the opportunity to see the impact of the project’s activities first hand through tours of local farms and communities where improved gum arabic management techniques have been put into practice
  • NEF held meetings to explain to communities the importance of protecting Acacia trees, and also worked with Sudan's National Forest Corporation to set new rules and procedures for protecting the trees
  • Farmers received a full range of technical support, including how to determine the best locations to plant, instruction in more efficient harvesting techniques, and guidance in improved storage of the gum arabic (to maintain high quality until it reaches the market) 

Those who have benefited perhaps best express the impact of your donation:

“With the support of the Near East Foundation, I have learned new ways to increase my income and improve my family’s well-being through gum arabic, agriculture, and micro-credit projects,” said Mahdi, a gum arabic farmer from Sudan’s North Kordofan State. “We have also learned the value of gum arabic trees and the importance of protecting this resource.” 

THANK YOU!!!  Your generous support has allowed NEF to work with communities in Sudan to build sustainable solutions that will benefit community members for years to come.  We hope that you will continue to follow NEF’s work! For more on Global Giving, consider NEF's work in rural Armenia. 

Links:

Jul 9, 2014

Market Gardens Change Lives in Rural Mali

Over 70 tons of food harvested from market gardens
Over 70 tons of food harvested from market gardens

For villagers in the Douentza region of northern Mali – who have suffered drought, political turmoil, and occupation by rebels and extremists — market gardens have not only helped them to survive, but have improved livelihoods and strengthened the resilience of communities.

With your support, over the last two years farmers have produced an incredible 70 tons of food in market gardens with an estimated value of 17,700,000CFA – that is an estimated $37,000!  The project has directly benefited 400 farmers, and indirectly benefited thousands in the communities surrounding the eight market gardens.

With communities on stronger footing, this month marks the end of our campaign on Global Giving.  Our work in Mali continues – and we hope that you will continue to follow our activities and the impact of our projects through our website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed

We thank you for your generous support for vulnerable families in northern Mali, and leave you with highlights of the impact of your donation:

  • In 2014, farmers harvested 42.6 tons of food with an estimated value of 10,650,000 CFA—nearly $22,000.
  • 1775kg of seeds distributed to targeted market gardens.
  • Market garden in the eight villages of Bagui, Korientzé, N’Gorodia, (rural commune of Korombana) Dari, Deri (rural commune of N’Diaptodji), Mounouwel, Kikara (rural commune of Gandamia), and Gafity (rural commune of Débéré) produce shallot, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, carrot, lettuce and gumbo from market gardens.  
  • Farmers – men and women—trained in improved techniques and the use of new tools.
  • Communities supported in developing the management skills to maintain market gardens.

The impact of your donation is perhaps best expressed by those who have benefited:

“We have received much support in planning, organization, financial management, and gardening techniques,” Dico (a farmer in N’Gorodia market garden in the Rural Commune of Korombana) said.  “This has been so important for our community, and particularly our women. The benefits are immeasurable.”  

The market gardens have done more than just ensure food security in the eight-targeted communities – they have improved livelihoods and lives. 

“Before market gardening was introduced in our community, nearly all of our girls had to go to towns (Mopti, Bamako, etc.) after the rainy season to serve as housekeepers – with all the risks of disease, crime, and accidents that accompanied this travel,” Aissata, a farmer in the Garity market garden in the Rural Commune of Debere, said.  “With revenues from market gardens, this is no longer necessary. The gardens provide enough revenue for women to set up their marriage trousseau.”

THANK YOU!!!  Your generous support has allowed NEF to work with communities in Mali to build sustainable solutions that will benefit community members for years to come.  We hope that you will continue to follow NEF’s work! For more on Global Giving, consider NEF's work in rural Armenia.

Eight communities benefited from production.
Eight communities benefited from production.
Shallot harvested in market gardens.
Shallot harvested in market gardens.

Links:

 
   

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